Emerald Ash Borer


If you read the news you’ve probably already heard of the emerald ash borer. This is a good thing! Community awareness is pivotal if we are going to slow, or potentially stop, the spread of this destructive beetle.

The emerald ash borer is an invasive wood boring beetle that feeds on the cambium layer of native ash (Fraxinus) species. As the larvae feed on the tree’s cambium, they interrupt the vascular system and essentially girdle the tree. No ash trees in the United States have demonstrated resistance to this pest and damage has been devastating in infested areas.

The beetle was first found in the Detroit, Michigan area in 2002 and has since spread to over a dozen states throughout the Midwest. EAB was first detected in Newburg, WI in 2008, now one of several active infestations within the state. Emerald Ash Borer was discovered on the north side of Madison in November 2013; this is the first confirmed case in Dane County.

For a complete history of EAB, visit the national webpage.

The City of Madison has announced that there are over 20,000 ash trees on public right-of-ways–just over 20% of the population. A representative inventory of the entire Madison Urban Area found an estimate 80,000+ ash trees on public and private lands, which constitutes 8% of the urban forest. Now that EAB is established in Dane County, all of these trees are at risk of infestation and the ash population will quickly decline.

What Can You Do?

  1. EAB Calculator IconPlant Trees: In order to limit the loss of urban forest canopy, it is our goal to get as many new trees planted. Weare planting a very diverse mix of species, which means that future pests and diseases will not be as destructive as EAB. We recommend getting a replacement tree in the ground even if you’ll be waiting to remove your ashtree. Read more on our Tree Planting page.
  2. Treat Your Trees: Extremely effective insecticides exist to prevent the infestation of individual ash trees. If you  alue the ash tree(s) on your property, consider having them treated. The Urban Tree Alliance is currently offering insecticide treatments to private property ownders. Read more on our EAB treatment page.
  3. Remove Infested Trees: We highly recommend removing trees before they are dead. Not only will it be more expensive to remove a dead tree, but most municipalities have ordinances against dead, EAB infested, trees.
  4. Build Awareness: Know the trees on your property and on your block; be aware of any ash. Don’t know how to identify ash trees? Check out this flyer.
  5. Don’t Move Firewood: The Emerald Ash Borer is not a terrific flyer. Left to its own abilities, the beetle will only move about 1/2 mile per year. The way it has establish so quickly is by hitching a ride on infested firewood and wood products.